TEAM

A talented group of experts in Technology, Business, Sports and Data

Derek Belch

Founder and CEO

Derek developed STRIVR while he was a graduate assistant coach with the Stanford football team. He played football for Stanford as an undergraduate, attended business school at USC, and returned to Stanford to coach and get his Masters degree in Virtual Reality. This unique background gives Derek tremendous credibility across both the sports and VR worlds, which has allowed STRIVR to quickly grow into a VR business with real-world applicability.

Jeremy Bailenson

Co-Founder

Jeremy is a professor at Stanford University and is the founding director of Stanford’s world-renowned Virtual Human Interaction Lab. He is one of the world’s leading experts in VR and his research focuses on VR’s effect on the human brain and human behavior; his findings have been published in over 100 academic papers. He is a co-author of the book “Infinite Reality”, which was recently quoted by the Supreme Court in arguments about the effects of immersive media.

Brian Meek

CTO

Brian brings to STRIVR 20 years of experience building software and services at scale and building amazing engineering teams. Prior to STRIVR, Brian was at Microsoft for 13 years, most recently as General Manager of Development for Skype where he led the development of Skype and Skype for business for 200 million users across smartphones, tablets, desktop and wearables.  Brian joined Microsoft in 2003 after the company purchased Placeware, where he served as Chief Architect.  Prior to that Brian served as VP of Engineering for Flycast Networks, building the first wave of ROI optimized advertising technologies.

Yelena Drabkin

VP of Product

Yelena brings to STRIVR 15 years of Product Management experience. She draws on experience as a startup co-founder with deep product management knowledge combined with large-scale product execution expertise from Fortune 500 companies. Prior to STRIVR, Yelena led global product and development teams at Simplee, building pain-free healthcare payment options for patients. Her prior experience includes management consulting at Accenture and leading consumer on-boarding and engagement in PayPal and eBay. She is very passionate about promoting women in technology; after moving to the Bay Area, she spent several years volunteering with Women 2.0 organization supporting startups with at least one female founder.

Rama Pagdala

VP of Engineering

Rama has over 16 years of experience building software products & scalable services, and building & managing engineering teams. Prior to STRIVR, he worked at Microsoft for 12 years, most recently as Principal Engineering Manager and led the Skype Android, Skype Translator, and Skype Bots efforts. Prior to joining Microsoft, he worked at Cisco Systems for 4 years as a senior software engineer and helped build the Unified Communications line of products. He is passionate about entrepreneurship, a big proponent of Lean Startup methodology, and a firm believer in execution.

Michael Casale

Chief Science Officer

Dr. Michael Casale is a cognitive neuroscientist whose academic research focused on understanding the biological underpinnings of learning and memory, in particular how to ​best optimize training for learning situations as well what understanding how to best train individuals so that learning transfers from one learning situation to another (e.g., from training session to real-life situation). He has also led multi-million dollar research projects aimed at understanding how virtual technologies can be used to facilitate the effectiveness of behavioral therapy and the brain basis underlying such processes. His work has been published dozens of times in notable peer-reviewed journals such as Memory & Cognition and the Journal of Cognitive Neuroscience. Michael’s quantitative background also allows him to  At STRIVR, ​Michael blend​s​ his academic and applied research expertise to help develop training methodologies that optimize performance as well as uncover unique training insights only made possible with immersive technologies.

Lindsey Plocek

Head of Enterprise Sales

Lindsey is a serial entrepreneur. She has built technology partnerships with more than 100 of the Fortune 500 brands while helping several prominent SaaS startups develop their initial sales teams and strategies. Prior to STRIVR, Lindsey held roles at Gigya, a customer identity management platform acquired by SAP, and Crowdtap, a consumer insights technology that was listed as one of the INC 500’s fastest growing companies in America. Lindsey holds a Journalism degree from Ohio University and previously worked at Random House-Knopf and the San Francisco Chronicle. She is a writer and a first-generation college graduate with a passion for mentorship.

Nathaniel Jewell

CFO

Nathaniel Jewell joins STRIVR from Apple, where he led the finance strategy and finance investments for Apple’s worldwide channel sales organization. Prior to Apple, Nathaniel spent six years with Deloitte Consulting in executive consulting and management roles focused on mergers and acquisitions for companies ranging from $200M to $150B+ in market capitalizations. He assisted in writing the NY Times bestseller Stacking the Deck by David Pottruck, which focuses on how to successfully design and manage breakthrough change in any organization. Nathaniel is the co-founder and Board Director of the Wharton Angels Alumni Network of Silicon Valley. He holds a MBA from University of Pennsylvania – The Wharton School and a B.A. in Finance and Management from the University of Massachusetts Amherst.

Logan Mulvey

Chief Customer Officer

Logan’s devotion to STRIVR’s success follows years of innovation as a serial entrepreneur. He and his partner Jason Peterson launched their first company, GoDigital, in college and went on to launch six companies in total, five of which are still in business today. Prior to growing and sustaining STRIVR, Logan served as the SVP Digital Distribution at Alchemy where he led growth strategies for sales, marketing and acquisitions. With a rooted passion for media and visual technologies, Logan’s past includes working as CEO and Founder of GoDigital, a movie distribution company which he sold in 2014 to Millennium Entertainment.

AND 40+ MORE VIRTUAL REALITY EXPERTS, PhDs, PSYCHOLOGISTS, DATA SCIENTISTS, FORMER PRO ATHLETES, AND SOLUTIONS ARCHITECTS.

Some of Our Advisors

David Shaw
Head Coach, Stanford Football

Coach Shaw is the Bradford M. Freeman Director of Football at Stanford University. He has compiled a 64-17 record in 6 seasons as Stanford’s head coach, winning Pac-12 Coach of the Year 3 times. Shaw let STRIVR develop its product on his Stanford practice field back in 2014, and has called STRIVR “a game changer” for the sport of football.

Robert Livingston, Ph.D.
Professor, Harvard University

Dr. Livingston is a social psychologist and Lecturer in Public Policy at the Harvard Kennedy School of Government. His research ranges from micro-level experimental investigations of the psychological and physiological processes that underlie implicit bias (e.g., stereotyping, prejudice)—to more macro-level examinations of discrimination in society and the workplace, particularly in upper-level leadership positions. His work has been published in multiple top-tier academic journals.

Walter Greenleaf
Distinguished Visiting Scholar, Stanford University

Walter Greenleaf is a research scientist, entrepreneur, and medical product developer. He is known internationally as an early pioneer in the medical application of virtual environment technology and is viewed as one of the founders of the field. For the last 25 years he has developed innovative clinical systems for use in physical and cognitive medicine, with a specific focus in the use of virtual reality technology. Walter has served as a scientific adviser and reviewer for the U.S. Public Health Service, National Science Foundation (NSF), National Institutes of Health (NIH), NASA, and the U.S. Department of Education.

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